The Complete Fairy Tales & Other Stories
By Hans Christian Andersen - online book

Oxford Complete Illustrated Edition all his stories written between 1835 and 1872.

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THE MOST INCREDIBLE THING          1041
On the stroke of four came the four seasons : spring with a cuckoo on a budding beech-bough ; summer with a grass­hopper on a stalk of ripe corn ; autumn with an empty stork's nest—the birds were flown ; winter with an old crow which could tell stories in the chimney-corner, old memories.
When the clock struck five, the five senses appeared— sight as a spectacle-maker, hearing as a coppersmith, smell sold violets and woodruff, taste was cook, and feeling was an undertaker with crape down to his heels.
The clock struck six ; and there sat a gambler who threw the dice, and the highest side was turned up and showed six.
Then came the seven days of the week, or the seven deadly sins, people were not certain which ; they belonged to each other and were not easily distinguished.
Then came a choir of monks and sang the eight o'clock service.
On the stroke of nine came the nine muses ; one was busy with astronomy; one with historical archives ; the others belonged to the theatre.
On the stroke of ten, Moses again came forward with the tables of the law, on which stood all God's command­ments, and they were ten.
The clock struck again ; then little boys and girls danced and hopped about. They played a game, and sang, ' Two and two and seven, the clock has struck eleven.'
When twelve struck the watchman appeared with his fur cap and halberd : he sang the old watch verse :
' 'Twas at the midnight hour Our Saviour He was born.'
And while he sang, roses grew and changed into angel-heads borne on rainbow-coloured wings.
It was charming to hear, and lovely to see. The whole was a matchless work of art—the most incredible thing, every one said.
Ttie designer of it was a young man, good-hearted and happy as a child, a true friend, and good to his old parents ; he deserved the Princess and the In If of the kingdom.